17 July, 2018

TECHO-Argentina and other organizations survey 4100 families and pressure government into recognizing informal settlements in the country.

In a united effort to pressure the government into recognizing informal settlements, four organizations including TECHO have worked during months to build the first National Registry of Popular Neighborhoods (RENABAP). Below they share their struggle and celebrate this important milestone for Argentinean families and social organizations.

No eradication, nor paternalism, nor indifference, nor bear contention. 
We need cities that are integrated and for everyone.
Pope Francis


Our neighborhoods, the slums and settlements of Ar­gen­ti­na, do not show up on maps: we are a blemish. There are houses, there are streets, there are families, but no national legislation or public organizations acknowledge our existence. At least until now.

We, at the social organizations, worked du­ring months to build the first National Registry of Popular Neighborhoods (RE­NA­BAP). Thousands of local residents went door to door to survey families living in 4100 settlements.

Today, May 23, a decree was signed (De­cree 358/2017). This decree acknowledges the existence of marginal neighborhoods and creates a Cer­ti­f­icate of Family Dwelling. This document legalizes our address and recognizes our right to the city. Our right to access public water systems, public sewage and electrical grids on an equalitarian basis. Furthermore, it allows us to demand transportation, public lighting, schools, hospitals, garbage collection, arts and sports centers, all the services needed to live a good life. 

Until now, it seemed as if we lived in the slums, but our rights did not.  So, we went out looking for them. Walking the streets, getting organized, working and fighting to be recognized as citizens with full rights, with our own culture that must be respected. We don’t need to be told how to live, we survive every day, with the sweat of our braw. We are part of this nation. Our children are the future of the country.

The Certificate of Family Dwelling is the first step on a long way toward the full integration of our settlements. But we know a document is not enough — even a law would not be enough to attain land, a roof and work for all. This is a task that requires commitment, unity and solidarity. We, the popular movements and social organizations, are here to drive this process, along with all the local residents of the Popular Settlements that do not resign themselves to be treated as second-class citizens. This is a vindication that will be written among the great conquests of our people. It is the cancellation of an historical debt. But this is just the beginning.

CTEP – TECHO – Ba­rrios de Pie – CCC

Advocacy efforts such as this one is an essential part of TECHO’s work in Latin America. By partnering with other organizations and pressuring the government we can scale up our impact and move forward in fulfilling our mission and vision of a just, integrated and poverty-free society.